pillsbury pull-aparts

IMG_2067In a three-way (minds out of gutter) text between myself and two of my oldest and dearest friends, Lisa asked for Easter recipes. Meg and I dove right in to provide some. Lisa used none of them and Meg and I proceeded to add to our collection. I see why this is a go-to for her when she has house-guests. Meg, thanks for sending it! And Lisa, thanks for asking–next time, try this one! Enjoy!

While I got the recipe from Meg, it originated on the Pillsbury site.

Ingredients
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers Refrigerated Original Biscuits
1 (2.1-oz.) pkg. precooked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)IMG_2061

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 11×7- or 12×8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat egg and milk with wire whisk until smooth.

2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange IMG_2063biscuit pieces in single layer.

3. Bake at 350°F. for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.

tara’s tips: I used an 8×8 square baking dish from Pampered Chef. Make sure the biscuits ‘stuffed’ into the pan. I fried 5 slices of bacon and drained it instead of using precooked.

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loaded baked potato casserole

This was so easy it was criminal and yet flavorful and yummy. If you make it on a weeknight, leave yourself some time to make the bacon and do some chopping–but it’s definitely doable. Literally a meat and potatoes meal, and delish to boot. Enjoy!

Originally found on A Household Almanac Rachel Schultz

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, cubedIMG_2024
  • 4 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cheddar
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Season Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.IMG_2033
  2. Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.IMG_2035
  5. Top with green onion.

tara’s tips: I used kosher salt on my potatoes and chicken instead of table salt. And when it came to mixing things up, I used my hands–sometimes there’s just no better way. I used salt, pepper, and season salt on my chicken. I fried 7 pieces of bacon and then crumbled it. Once again, I used thin sliced chicken breasts, which for recipes of this nature, does not make for easy chopping, I’d recommend using regular chicken breasts. Because I seasoned my chicken and the potatoes, I did not season with salt and pepper after adding the butter slices. It goes without saying, I grated my own cheese, in this case, an entire block of mild cheddar. And I admittedly forgot to cover with foil, so I baked for 70 minutes uncovered and it still came out yummy.

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“doubletree” chocolate chip cookies

For years I have been foiled by the chocolate chip cookie. I’ve followed recipe after recipe to the letter. I’ve asked people about their tips and tricks–more vanilla, expensive vanilla, different sugar ratios, all just bought/fresh ingredients–nothing has worked. And then–my friend Jess opened my eyes to these. It’s supposed to be the ‘DoubleTree Hotel’ chocolate chip cookies–yes, those. The cookie with the reputation that precedes it, in a great way! I will not lie, for a cookie recipe, this one is rather involved and has some surprising ingredients, but trust me when I say–it’s worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another IMG_2010medium bowl with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
  3. For the best results, chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies. IMG_2018
  4. Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart. Bake in a 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle. Store in a sealed container when cool to keep soft.

tara’s tips (and jess’s by proxy): I softened the butter in the microwave, but did not melt it completely like I often do when baking. I only had pecans in the house, not walnuts, so I chopped them up using my food processor. I also stored the big ball of dough wrapped in wax paper in a freezer bag. While ovens vary, I tried baking the cookies 2 minutes past the 18 minute mark, not a good idea. They were still delish, just not as soft and chewy as they can be. The dough keeps for a long time in the frig, but Jess suggests ‘flash’ freezing the portions on a cookie sheet and then putting them in a freezer bag so whenever the need for a chocolate chip cookie strikes, you can just take a few out and bake ’em!

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creamy chicken and gnocchi with asparagus

As I continue to incorporate more poultry into my diet, my quest for yummy recipes with chicken breasts continues. This one hit the spot. And while the original recipe came from Diabetic Living… I made some substitutions they probably wouldn’t be so happy with… But delish it was! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch piecesasparagus
  • 2 cups whole wheat potato gnocchi
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (I didn’t use this)
  • 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (I used super trim & fit thin sliced breasts)
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used a full package of full-fat cream cheese)
  • 1 tbs. snipped fresh oregano

tara’s tips: Ok, yes, I strayed from the majority of what made this diabetes friendly, so if anyone actually follows the recipe, let me know how it tastes. Also, I learned the hard way that I must season my meat and vegetables, so I did. Salt, pepper, and Season All on the chicken and the asparagus. I let the cream cheese sit out to soften as I was prepping. I cooked the chicken just using cooking spray, no oil in the pan. However, I did drizzle a little garlic infused olive oil over the asparagus and tossed by hand before I roasted it.

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450. In a bowl whisk together broth, flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Roast 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once or twice. (I didn’t turn)
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. chicken and sauceCoat an extra-large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. (I cooked it until it was done; come on, it’s chicken!)
  5. Stir broth mixture and cream cheese into chicken in skillet. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, adding enough reserved cooking water to thicken sauce. (I didn’t add any water) Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in gnocchi and oregano; heat through.
  6. Divide roasted asparagus and chicken mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, sprinkle with additional oregano. (I did and added some grated parmesan cheese as well)

creamy chix and asparagus

fast shepherd’s pie–guest post!

Master Chef Michelle is in the kitchen and The Edible Bookmark couldn’t be happier! In honor of Easter and the recent chilly temperatures, she’s sharing a family favorite made with lamb and love. Without further adieu…

Michelle P.
Ok, who isn’t sick of the cold yet?! If I could get my hands on that ground hog…well, as an animal lover I guess I have to let some things go. Just gives us more time to enjoy hearty, warm, and comforting foods. Here’s my take on Fast Shepherd’s Pie from Cooking Light.

I’ve taken this fast recipe and made it a tad bit faster. The only downside I have found is that it may be a bit more “saucy,” but can we say clean plates by all?? That = A KEEPER recipe in my book.

Hands-on Time: 30 min.
Total Time: Under 1 hour.
Serves 6 (easily)

Step 1aIngredients:

  • 6 lamb loin chops, meat removed from bones and cut into bite size pieces*
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ tp. kosher salt (I swap this out and use Secolari’s Black Truffle Sea Salt)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots mix**
  • 1 package Bob Evans mashed potatoes***
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

michelle’s musings:
*I just ask the butcher in my grocery store to cut the meat from the bones so it makes it easier to cut them in smaller pieces at home. I also suggest using 8 chops for a more meaty taste.Step 3

**/*** : These are the items I use to speed things up even more. The original recipe calls for microwaving baby carrots, slicing them up and for making frozen Ore Ida Steam n’ Mash potatoes.

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle lamb evenly with salt and pepper. Add lamb to pan; saute for about 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion to pan; saute for about 4 minutes and stir occasionally.
  3. Stir tomato paste into onions in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in carrots, peas, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in browned lamb.
  5. Add butter to Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and microwave for just the first cooking cycle.Step 7
  6. Spoon lamb mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish. Top with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

ENJOY!

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Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (approx.. ¾ cup lamb mixture and ¾ cup potatoes): 377 calories; 13.7 fat (5.2g saturated, 4.3 g mono, 0.8g poly); 20.2g protein; 39.9g carbohydrates; 5.7g fiber; 59mg cholesterol; 2.9mg iron; 536mg sodium; 59mg calcium